With all of the options available to customers, in order to win and keep their business, you have to remove friction from your customers' lives as much as possible. The customer journey has to provide each person with the most positive, problem-free experience possible. But customers have very different needs, desires, and tolerances, and the challenge of appeasing them all grows with the size of your company.

One executive who's a master of the customer journey is Kasia Leyden, who will be discussing that very topic at Incite Summit West in May. The Marketing Director at Braintree, the fast-growing payments platform, Leyden is a technology and fintech marketing pro who, over the past year, has also taken on the challenge of establishing marketing at Venmo, the peer to peer payments platform, where she is working on brand positioning and marketing.

Here's how she advises mastering your customers' overall experience with your brand:

#1: Different Customers, Different Customer Journeys

While all customers are created equal, that doesn't mean they should receive the same exact customer journey.

"We live in a world that inundates customers with more brands, more value propositions, more testimonials, and more innovation than ever before," Leyden explains. "As a brand owner, if you've managed to understand the customer need, articulate your solution in a simple, compelling and differentiated way, at the right time, in the right place to ultimately connect with a customer, then you're doing something right. Your communication has to be differentiated to your target customers in order to resonate."

#2 Make Each Customer Feel Unique

In an increasingly cluttered marketplace, finding a receptive target is increasingly difficult. Today's marketing technology affords us the ability to create bespoke experiences that cater to the unique needs of the customer, but only go so far. It's easier if you're a startup with just a handful of customers, but as you ramp up, it becomes important to "make your millions of customers individually feel like they are one in a million," as Leyden puts it.

#3 Get to Know Your Customer Directly

These days, there's a wealth of third-party data that marketers can use in order to market--but that shouldn't be a substitute for building a strong database of your own customers. Braintree, for example, typically finds its first-party data to be significantly more valuable than third. "Often times, prospecting and 'lookalike' models are not actually hitting the desired target," Leyden explains. "Especially in digital, when 'view-through' actions are far too often credited to digital ads - which are often not in view or seen weeks before an action."

In Leyden's experience, starting with as much research-driven customer insight as possible has been the most effective way of getting to know your customers. What problem are they trying to solve, what's their frame of mind, where do they go to learn more, what motivates their decision, and who they seek opinions from? All of these things are critical clues when it comes to engaging a new audience with a targeted marketing strategy.

#5 Don't Just Stick to "Best Practices"

It's not enough to Google the phrase "marketing best practices" and steal a playbook from everyone else; you have to give your customers an experience that's right for your brand. In fact, when you provide unique experiences, more often than not, that's when you win. Braintree found that to be the case when it engaged developers by using ASCII art to hide access to old-school arcade games within source code.

#6 Digital-First, Not Digital-Only

Just because you're a digital brand, or just because you know digital marketing is all the rage, doesn't mean you should forget about offline marketing techniques. In fact,

connecting digital marketing to offline experiences has been proven to build superior customer experiences.In a competitive arena saturated with digital tactics, there's a lot to be said for driving a tangible interaction between your customer and your brand 'in the real world' as opposed to being just another impression on their tablet, laptop or mobile phone.

In Leyden's case, she mixes modern strategies with "old school marketing tactics," incorporating direct mail, offline brand experiences, and activations as a way of completing that traditional "surround sound marketing approach."

"Whether it's online or offline," advises Leyden, "it's crucial for marketers to create an authentic through line across all touch points to better resonate with the customer."

Want to hear more from Leyden on the customer journey? She'll be speaking alongside me at Incite Summit West, May 17th-18th, in San Francisco. Hear Leyden as well as executives from Facebook, Athleta, Square, Wells Fargo, Intel, and many more. Download the Summit brochure to learn more.